Nitroglycerin or Aspirin – which is best for a heart attack victim?

When a person is experiencing a heart attack, should you give them Aspirin or Nitroglycerin?

If you suspect that a person is having a heat attack, the most important thing to do is to call 9-1-1 immediately. Don’t do anything before calling 9-1-1.

Heart attacks are usually caused by atherosclerosis (the build up of plaque on the artery walls), and complicated by thrombosis (blood clots) in the heart vessels. Anti thrombotic treatment should happen as soon as possible after a heart attack. Aspirin (ASA) helps slow down the formation of clots.

It is recommended that a person experiencing a heart attack chew 160 to 325 mg of ASA – either two low-dose (81mg) tablets or one regular strength (325 mg) tablet.

Taking ASA is not advised during a stroke, because not all strokes are caused by blood clots. Most strokes are caused by clots, but some are caused by ruptured blood vessels. Taking ASA could potentially make these bleeding strokes more severe.

Nitroglycerin “Nitro” is a symptom relief medication and does not target the underlying cause of the heart attack. First Aiders should focus on helping the person take ASA over nitroglycerin, as long as there is no contraindication. Remember to ask “Are you allergic to aspirin?”

For more information on giving aspirin during a heart attack or stroke please follow this link:


Onsite First Aid Training in Metro Vancouver

Do your staff need first aid training?

We do onsite first aid training in workplaces in Metro Vancouver.  We can teach a class in the convenience of your own venue, or you can book a private course at our Coquitlam location. Private group training is easy to very organize. Just book a date with us and provide a group of people and we’ll take care of everything else!

We will come out to your location in the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody) Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford or Langley.

The Venue

The training room should be clean and contain enough seating for the number of people attending as well as adequate clear floor space for the practical sessions. Please see guidelines below. There must be washrooms nearby.

Training room size

Red Cross minimum room size requirements: 1.4 m2 (15 sq. ft.) available for every 2 participants.

For Level 1 (Workplace Emergency First Aid) courses, WorkSafe BC requires a minimum of 500 sq ft of clear floor space in addition to the seating area.

First Aid Class Group Size

Red Cross First Aid/ CPR courses:

Maximum number of students per class = 18

Minimum number of students you will be invoiced for = 10


Mental Health First Aid courses:

Maximum number of students per class = 24

Minimum number of students you will be invoiced for = 10

Special arrangements can be made for smaller or larger groups.

Don’t have a suitable training room onsite?

No problem! We can teach your group at our Coquitlam location or you can register your staff members on one of our public courses. You can find our public course schedule at

First Aid in Farsi?

Our public courses are usually conducted in English, however we have an Iranian instructor who can teach first aid and CPR classes in Farsi. We’d be happy to arrange a private course for your group conducted in Farsi.

Ready to book your private group course?

For more information, or to make arrangements for your onsite first aid training, please contact us. To help us to serve you better, please give us the following information if you can:

  • Which course do your staff members need to take?
  • Would you like us to teach the class at your workplace or our classroom in Coquitlam?
  • Which day of the week is most convenient for you?
  • Do you have any dates in mind for your training? Please give a two or three alternate dates and indicate your preference.
  • Would you prefer to be contacted by phone or email?

Contact us today to book a private first aid class for your group!
Call 604-945-7277 and speak to Gill, or email

Babysitting course SD43

October 21 2016, Babysitting course, Coquitlam

Are you worried when you leave your older child at home alone with their younger siblings? If you’d like your 11-15 year old to learn babysitting skills and how to be safer when home alone, you may like to sign them up for our Red Cross Babysitting course on October 21 2016 in Coquitlam. Register online or call 604-945-7277.

Red Cross Babysitting course topics:

Help your child build valuable skills for a lifetime. As a trained babysitter, your child will learn how to:

  • Look after babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children.
  • Care for himself/herself and siblings when home alone.
  • Create a safe environment, and deal with phone calls and unexpected visitors.
  • React confidently in case of an emergency, such as choking, bleeding, poisoning or burns.
  • Cope with common problems, such as tantrums and crying.
  • Play games and organize activities to keep kids of all ages entertained.
  • Manage a babysitting business. This includes creating a resume and a business card and asking the right questions before accepting a babysitting job.

Register for October 21 Red Cross Babysitting course

Questions? Call 604-945-7277 or email


Having a stroke more than doubles your risk of developing dementia


A new report from the Heart & Stroke Foundation shows that having a stroke more than doubles your risk of developing dementia – all the more reason to adopt a healthy lifestyle now and get stroke victims to hospital as soon as possible.

If you suspect someone is having a stroke call EMS/911 immediately and request an ambulance. The person needs medical attention as fast as possible. Do not drive them to the hospital yourself.

If the person is having a stroke that’s caused by a blood clot they can be given clot busting medication that can stop the stroke by breaking up the blood clot. The medication must be given as soon as possible and within 4½ hours after stroke symptoms start. Receiving this medication in time can reduce the severity of a stroke and reverse some of the effects, helping the person recover more quickly.

Stroke and Dementia by the numbers:

  • 1.9 million brain cells die every minute after a stroke.
  • 405,000 Canadians are living with the effect of stroke.
  • 1 in 3 Canadians who will develop stroke, dementia, or both.
  • 1/3 of dementia risk can be attributed to stroke.
  • 9 in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for stroke and heart disease.

Signs of stroke include F.A.S.T.

FACE – Is it drooping?
ARMS – Can you raise both?
SPEECH – Is it slurred or jumbled?
TIME – to call 9-1-1 right away

Take a Red Cross first aid & CPR course and learn how to care for a person suffering from a stroke or heart attack. Check out our course list here.

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The man with the blanket

In this last month I’ve given first aid three times – to a friend with a head injury that required seven stitches, to a woman who fell off the treadmill and hit her head at my gym and a dog who was hit by a car near Coquitlam Town Centre park. In all three situations other people rushed in to help and it was a good reminder about how important teamwork is in an emergency situation. If you’re involved in an emergency situation, look around you. Is there anyone that can help? Don’t be shy about asking. Most people want to help but often they’re not sure what to do.It’s great if you have first aid training but even if you don’t, here are some things you can do:

  • Call 911 and ask for an ambulance. Don’t hang up until they tell you to.
  • Get someone to meet the first responders and guide them to the injured person.
  • Comfort and reassure the injured person – treat them as you’d like someone to treat you.
  • Find a first aid kit and bring it to the scene.
  • If the person is cold and shivery, cover them with a blanket or jacket.
  • Make them as comfortable as you can – preferably without moving them.

Of the three situations I was involved in the injured dog was the most traumatic. The dog, a beautiful husky had run onto the road and was hit by a car and rolled underneath it. It was in terrible pain and we did what we could to comfort it while calling for help. The local animal shelters were unable to pick up the dog so eventually the owner had to transport it in his car. While we were struggling to slide the thrashing, squealing dog onto a mat in order to lift it into the car, a man who had witnessed the accident came over and gave the dog’s owner a beautiful soft blanket to cover the dog, wished him well and walked away.

It is very touching to witness the kindness of strangers. This man didn’t want or expect any thanks he just saw a need and did something to help. Even though it’s highly unlikely he will see my post, I just wanted to say “Thank you” to him.

Gill McCulloch